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Welcoming another new year Recycling and waste reducing – Consider 2021 with a few recycling resolution’s

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured

Published on January 27, 2021 with No Comments

by Ron Taylor

Public Education Coordinator for the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County

A New Year brings fresh opportunities to rethink how we can all strive toward more sustainable lifestyles while reducing the amount of trash that needs to be sent to a landfill. Consider kicking off 2021 with a few recycling resolutions. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Avoid bottled water and instead carry a reusable water bottle. Sixty million plastic water bottles are used and discarded every day in the United States, and very few end up being recycled.
  2. Switch to reusable or compostable straws instead of single use plastic straws. Americans use over 500 million plastic straws a day and all those small cylinders of plastic pose a serious risk to wildlife when disposed of improperly. Fortunately, it is now possible to purchase reusable metal straws, or biodegradable alternatives made of wheat, bamboo, or paper. Visit: this link for more information about plastic straw alternatives.
  3. Switch to paperless billing and e-receipts. Most stores and banks can now process transactions digitally, removing the need to produce reams of paper documents. In the checkout line opt to receive emailed receipts instead of traditional paper. Receipt paper contains a chemical called BPA which can pose serious environmental risks when it builds up in high concentrations. You can also opt out of receiving junk mail at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email
  4. Use washable cloth napkins instead of disposable paper ones. Paper napkins can’t be recycled.
  5. Spread the word about Recycling Right at your business or community organization. The Recycling and Waste Reduction District website features helpful downloadable posters that break down exactly what items can and can’t go into a curbside recycling bin. Consider printing and posting these handy guides near recycling bins at your workplace, school, or community center. Visit https://www.portercountyrecycling.org/business-services to download a poster.

Smoke Detectors - Experts recommend switching your smoke detector batteries every 6 months and getting new detectors every 10 years. Porter County offers many convenient locations for recycling both batteries and detectors. Take them to the Valparaiso compost site during open hours, Mondays through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visit

https://www.portercountyrecycling.org/smoke-detectors for a list of more locations that accept smoke detectors throughout the county.

Batteries (household or automotive) can also be taken to a variety of convenient locations throughout the county, including many schools, fire departments, hardware stores, and government buildings. Visit https://www.portercountyrecycling.org/household-batteries/ for a directory of Porter County’s “battery buckets.”

The Valparaiso Compost Site can also accept used consumer electronics – almost anything with a cord or batteries. Large appliances and dehumidifiers are not accepted at the Valparaiso Compost Site, but they can be taken to Metro Recycling, located at 2155 W. Lincolnway, Valparaiso, IN 46385 (across from the Valparaiso Compost Site.)

Plastic Bag Recycling in Porter County - Porter County residents frequently wonder if their plastic grocery bags can be recycled. Contrary to popular misconception, plastic bags cannot be recycled in curbside bins, but if they are completely clean and dry they can be deposited at special locations like grocery stores throughout Porter County.

Many residents may be surprised to learn just how many types of bags and wraps are accepted in these programs. Acceptable materials include sandwich bags, bubble wrap, packing wrap, amazon shipping bags, fresh produce bags, bread bags, and plastic newspaper bags.

You can also deposit items like furniture wraps (cut them into small pieces about a foot wide). Black plastic packages like takeout containers cannot be placed in curbside recycling bins because lasers in sorting machines cannot detect the dark material. However, black plastic wraps like empty garbage bags can be taken to your film wrap recycling site (not one’s curbside bin).

The Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District website maintains a handy list of participating grocery stores and retailers where you can deposit bags and wraps.  The website maintains a countywide list of organizations currently known to be accepting bags: https://www.portercountyrecycling.org/?id=%20167). County residents can also take their bags to the Valparaiso Compost Site located at 2150 West Lincolnway, Valparaiso, open Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Visit www.plasticfilmrecycling.org for a thorough list of accepted items.

Residents should also make sure all plastic bags are clean, dry, and completely empty before bringing them to a participating site. The Recycling and Waste Reduction District also encourages the use of reusable cloth bags for grocery shopping wherever possible. Reducing the amount of plastic produced in the first place is considered a first line of defense in the battle against plastic pollution.

De-icing Salt Bags and Water Softener Bags are NOT Accepted at Plastic Bag Recycling Locations

 

 

It’s the time of year when many residents are using salt to de-ice their driveways and sidewalks, which prompts the question: What’s the best way to dispose of the plastic bags that contained salt?

Unfortunately, these bags can NOT be taken to plastic bag recycling locations like the Valparaiso Compost Site. This is due to the fact that they contain mineral residue that contaminates the recycling process, so they must be thrown in the trash. Water softener salt bags are also NOT accepted at the drop-off sites.

Other plastic bags like grocery bags are not recyclable in your curbside bin, but they can be deposited at special sites throughout Porter County. The District website maintains a handy list of such locations.  (Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, some organizations have paused their plastic bag recycling services. Our website maintains a countywide list of organizations currently known to be accepting bags: Click Here). The Valparaiso Compost Site is located at 2150 West Lincolnway, Valparaiso, Indiana. Open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT.

Visit www.plasticfilmrecycling.org for a thorough list of accepted bags, wraps, and films. Please make sure all plastic bags are clean, dry, and completely empty before bringing them to a participating site.

For more information about services offered by the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County visit www.PorterCountyRecycling.org or contact us at info@portercountyrecycling.org.

Ronald Taylor is the public education coordinator for the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County. Since 2017 he has also served on the board of directors for the La Porte County Conservation Trust. For more information, email info@portercountyrecycling.org

 

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